Phantasmagoria.

17 Feb

I just might have the laziest brain. It isn’t a stupid brain, just lazy. See, I didn’t want to bother coming up with a synonym for “lazy”. That’s what just happened.

The plan was to say something about “my itinerant heart”, but that felt fucken clichéd, and I do recall a conversation with J.W. while I was in Chicago, wherein he recommended using any word but heart, any fucken word but heart. Here’s what my brain just made:

* the fusebox beneath my tits
* my punching-bag chest (Roadhouse)

I enjoy that my lazy fucken metaphors effervesce hilarity and flesh.

The itinerant heart was supposed to make its appearance here because constant travel has acclimated me to absence. Love that wanders from job to job. Something is always going to be missing. Someone is always gone. And I am groping for the ghosts.

Many hours in Inti and Daemond’s home by myself. Inti’s an incredible photographer (check out her site, please!) and most of my visit she was on the job in Vegas. Inti was a legend in my lazy brain, thanks to all the glowing compliments other poets had poured in there, but we’d never met.

So my days unwound in perfect peace, padding around the house that Inti and Daemond built, and I could see what people had told me was true. So much natural light, such quiet. Interesting and tasteful decor.

Love those colors.

The kitchen was very well-stocked, but no processed foods were to be found. No microwave, either.

Where the magic happens.

Hmm. It just feels so good in that place! Consideration and beauty shine in all the smallest touches.

Arty thing on the wall.

This was how Inti’s ghost and I came to get along.

***

INTERLUDE: Performance Anxiety.

I talk to people everywhere, especially women, who tell me they admire what I do, and say they “could never do that.” By that they usually mean performing onstage. Well, for almost all performers, stage fright never goes away. We numb ourselves to it through drink or drugs or simply force ourselves up there again and again. It’s a lot like going into battle. Especially in competition, but even an open mic can be harrowing. It’s true, it’s true. You have to care enough about your purpose, your art, the rush of it, or your ego – enough to beat the fear, the ghosts of what may never be.

Worst, your body itself may try to betray you. Here are a few of the physiological changes I may go through before any given performance.

* Bitterly cold hands.
* Shaking knees and legs (makes it difficult to stand properly)
* Shaking voice (an obvious problem)
* Nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness
* Upset stomach
* Difficulty breathing
* Frequent urges to pee
* Extreme sensitivity to touch (in a bad way)

So stop feeling sorry for yourselves. Being scared doesn’t make you special, it makes you just like everyone else. 😉

***

Daemond drove me to the Everett open mic that night. Garrett was lovely. His gentleness was evident throughout the night.

Garrett setting up.

Hm, not so Daemond’s and mine. We were the boisterous folk in the audience, why?

Doesn't he look like a troublemaker to you?

Because we know slam? Because we’re city folk? Because most of the crowd was white? *shrugs* Don’t matter, don’t matter. I had fun. Heard some good poems. A man talked story and played two Lakota flutes, one which was crafted to look like a loon. My, that was moving.

Loon spirit.

At the end of the night, a man in a purple velour jacket (upon which his stage name was embroidered) read some very clever, humorous verse from a big tome of his own poems. He reminded me very much of Ogden Nash at his best.

um, awesome.

My set was solid, although I surprised myself by dropping a poem (“Animal Alarm Clock”, for those of you keeping track at home). The small-town swell was in full effect: I sold a number of books. Best of all, lots of women came up to me afterward and told me how much they’d enjoyed my set. That’s my favorite. A young woman with purple hair asked her mother to buy my book for her, as she was too shy to approach me herself. She smiled and flickered in my peripheral vision, then vanished into the evening, like a ghost.

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